What causes salespeople to ingest the most Tums®? It’s the time period during the sales process when you don’t know what a prospect is thinking. It starts when great prospects express interest. It mercifully ends when they finally make their buying decision. In between you’re on that emotional roller coaster thinking either the best or the worst could happen to your sale. No, I can’t make that period of time go away. Yes, I can help you manage it better.
Don’t jump to conclusions. The worst thing you can do is to assume that your customer has doubts about purchasing from you and is not going to buy. You might even think to call your customer and say something like, “I haven’t heard back from you and was wondering if you are still interested.” Don’t do it because you’ll regret it later. Psychologists will tell you about a phenomenon known as emotional contagion. If someone else is sad they can transfer their feelings of unhappiness to others. If they’re happy they transfer those feelings of joy to others. It also works the same way with doubt. If you assume that a reason exists not to buy from you and say it, you just might signal these doubts to your customer. We’re innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. While your customer is deliberating, you are also innocent. If you assume there’s a negative you just might plant the seeds of doubt—and see it grow. When you speak with a prospect always express the positive. Never express doubt.
Remove emotion and stick with logic. So how do you deal with your emotions and feelings of doubt? Instead of letting your emotions carry the day, do an assessment of where you are in the sales process. I tend to examine what I call active drivers. Active drivers are what the prospect is doing to drive the sale forward. I recap everything my prospect said and did that led me to believe the sale was moving forward. Did the customer ask for particular pieces of information? That’s a good sign. Did the customer say he was going to call current customers? That’s a step moving closer to make a buying decision. Did we agree on a price? That’s a definite sign of commitment. Write down all the actions your prospect took that moved the sale forward. By focusing on concrete issues, you’ll calm yourself down and allow reason to govern. When you know logically that your sale does have some foundation, you will be able to speak confidently with your prospect.
Let it be won’t work. You may be thinking that your customer has enough information to make a decision. He’ll call you when he’s made his decision. Right? Wrong. Your customer is trying to make a decision. If you are in this limbo state, then something in your customer’s decision making process is preventing him from making the buying decision. You must find out what it is without delay. You must contact your prospect. Once when I experienced a decision delay, I knew that my prospect was planning on speaking with my references. The voicemail I left said, “Just seeing if there was something I needed to do, perhaps a gentle reminder to my customers if you needed something from them.” I smiled when I left the message because I wanted to convey a relaxed tone of voice. Your call to your customer could start the same way and ask your prospect if you need to do something.
After being in sales over 25 years, there still are times when I am faced with the roller coaster emotions from a delayed buying decision. It’s only a matter of time when you will also face this situation. Just make sure that you help your prospect make a decision to buy. You can save the Tums for someone else.